What's Up With Fall 2015? Comparing Wait Times In 2015 To Years Pastby Fred Hazelton, contributing writer
The end of November brings us not only the Thanksgiving holiday but also the unofficial end to the fall season at Disney theme parks. Fall 2015 has been a fall unlike any other that we at Touringplans.com have seen in terms of crowds at the parks and wait times at the attractions. With fall soon behind us this would be a good time to take a look at what happened. Were wait times really as high as people say they were? Was this year really that different?
Let's look at the average daily wait time at each property between September 1 and November 30. Each year, holidays like Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving can fall on different dates but this will give us a quick and easy look at what happened this year and how it compares to years past.
Walt Disney World Resort
The difference between what we saw this year and what we have seen historically is most notable at Walt Disney World. Virtually every day between September and November in 2015 had an average wait time higher than the historical average. There are some individual days in the past with averages higher than what we saw this year but the vast majority of the time the average in 2015 was the highest on record, especially in early September.
At Disneyland Resort the trend is similar although not as distinct as what we saw at Walt Disney World. There were many more days at Disneyland this fall with wait times close to, or below the historical average. However, if you look closely you see that on most days the 2015 average was greater than the historical average and on many days the 2015 average was significantly higher than what we have seen in years past. Most notable for Disneyland were dates in early September and late October when the average wait time was much higher this year.
Universal Studios Orlando
Meanwhile, at Universal Orlando the wait time averages in fall 2015 were comparable with what we have seen in years past. Granted, we have much less historical data to compare for Universal parks but the trend is interesting none-the-less. Not only have fall crowds at Universal been closer to historical averages in 2015 they have been much less crowded than the other resorts. On the Touringplans.com crowd calendar we have seen dozens of days this fall with crowd levels equal to '1' and '2' out of '10' at Universal parks but very few days reached crowd levels this low at Disney parks.
Thanksgiving crowds at Disney's Resorts are substantial. We will be watching closely to see how crowds at the parks this Thanksgiving compare to what we have seen in years past. Will we see new records this year as we have seen all fall or will the Thanksgiving rush be the same? What is clear is that if you want to avoid crowded theme parks this fall you might be most thankful if you choose& Universal.